There is a now infamous photo of Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in Russia, sitting at a dining table President Vladimir Putin. Given how explosive Flynn’s involvement with the Kremlin was, people tended to ignore another person sitting with them.
The Senate Intelligence Committee noticed, though. The committee has been investigating Russia meddling in our 2016 presidential election. Now, they have become interested in a woman who ran on the Green Party ticket, Jill Stein. She took enough votes away from the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, to sway the election in two swing states.
Trump defeated Clinton by 10,704 votes, and Stein got 51,463 votes in Michigan. In Wisconsin, he defeated Clinton by 22,177 votes, and Stein got 31,006 votes. The Green Party candidate nearly did the same in Pennsylvania. Trump won by 67,416 votes, and Stein took 49,485 votes, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Former Stein campaign communications director, Dennis Trainor Jr, worked for her from January to August in 2015, and his former boss just called to tell him the committee had requested documents from her. The documents requested included communications from the Russian state-funded media organization, RT News, who booked Stein for some appearances.
He told BuzzFeed News:
‘Then I was told by Jill just to wait for further instructions.’
Stein said her campaign would get in touch with him about the document search next week. Those instructions probably would include certain search words and terms.
Trainor still worked for Stein occasionally after he officially left the campaign. He has decided to hire an attorney and is inclined to cooperate with the committee. He thinks that the former presidential candidate intends to comply, too. Going a step further, she intends to post her documents on her website. BuzzFeed News reported that Trainor said:
‘In an effort to show complete transparency and kind of wage her own war against (…) what I imagine she thinks is an overblown investigation into collusion.’
The Senate Judiciary Committee mentioned her in a letter to Donald Trump Jr. last July. The request said the committee wanted “all communications to, from, or copied” to the eldest Trump son, which related to Stein and a substantial group of other people. The former communications director said he doubted she ever wrote to the president’s son.
Stein did sit with Putin and Flynn at a dinner hosted by RT. Given that Flynn reached a plea agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, any involvement with the former national security adviser would be of interest to the committee.
Trainor thinks the Senate Intelligence Committee wants to know about that Moscow dinner, but he did not work for Stein at that time. Therefore, he would not have any documents about the event. The former presidential candidate said she did not receive payment to attend and had to pay for her own travel expenses. Flynn, on the other hand, did receive a speaking fee, paid through his agency.
Trainor said he believed the committee was primarily interested in Stein’s appearances on RT, which he has also done:
‘Vilifying anyone who’s ever appeared on or talked with anyone on the RT network.’
Trainor also thinks the Intelligence community’s assessment was related to a documentary he did on Occupy Wall Street:
‘There’s a lot of smoke around RT and not a lot of fire.’
The intelligence community referred to RT as a “propaganda outlet.” The Justice Department required the media outlet to register as “an agent of the Russian government” this year.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Justin Sullivan.